In recent years, cocktails have had a sort of resurgence in the US. Speakeasies are popping up everywhere, focusing largely on cocktails (usually Prohibition Era). Plus, drinking a cocktail is pretty much the only socially acceptable way to drink a glass of pretty much hard alcohol. Today, I will focus on a classic, the Manhattan.
The recipe for a Manhattan is as follows:
2 oz. Rye or Bourbon
1/2 oz. Sweet Vermouth
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry
The Manhattan should be made in the same fashion as a Martini:
Put all ingredients in an ice filled mixing glass. STIR well. Strain into Martini or lowball glass.
Apparently secret agents aren't terribly skilled at making cocktails. Shaking Martinis or Manhattans will melt more of the ice in the mixing glass, diluting the final product. No one wants that.
Personally, I love a good Manhattan. I generally will go with rye, as the rye is usually a bit spicier of a drink, balancing the sweetness from the Vermouth. Bourbon Manhattans have a chance to be too sweet (especially towards the end of the drink). The flavor is dominated by whatever whiskey is used, just without the burn. It also follows the standard rule of thumb: Start with crap, end with crap. All this means is that if you try to make a Manhattan with a bad whiskey, then you are going to get a bad Manhattan. Think of it as an investment in the cocktail. Generally I would suggest a middle ground liquor for cocktails. In this case, I would suggest (rI), which is a brand of rye, or Bulleit Bourbon.
There are a ton of tweaks to the recipe that can be used with positive results. For instance, sometimes the sweet vermouth is replaced with a different dessert-style wine, like a sherry or a port. I have had this (port), and it may have been the best "Manhattan" I have ever had. Basically, if you like American whiskies, then you will probably like a Manhattan.
If you think a Manhattan is too pretentious and you want to get a Brooklyn, switch the sweet vermouth to dry vermouth and add 1/4 oz. Maraschino Liqueur. This would be a good choice if you don't like sweet drinks.
If you want me to look at a particular beer (drink?) or have anything to say to me, email me at email@example.com.